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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-now-for-sports dept.

CoolHand writes:

"Sci-Tech Today talks about the role of technology in the Olympics from a unique perspective:

Every advance in the ever-accelerating juggernaut of sports technology threatens to widen the divide between Olympic haves and have-nots. Well-sponsored teams and rich governments pay top-end scientists and engineers to shape their skis, perfect their skates, tighten their suits, measure their gravitational pull.

I'm no luddite, but this seems to make these sports more about who can afford the best tech, and less about the true spirit of the games: bringing the best athletes from all countries together to compete. How can it be about the athletes, when some of the best athletes may never win due to lack of funding/tech?"

 
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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by krishnoid on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:49PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:49PM (#1847)

    How can it be about the athletes, when some of the best athletes may never win due to lack of funding/tech?

    How can winning be about the athletes at all for some competitions, when 'winning' is measured in centimeters or fractions of a second? Can anything about being an 'athlete' be measured in that small an amount?

    I have to think that the focus should move towards more qualitative depictions of 'athleticism', and (within some error margin) less about 'winning' these measured events.

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  • (Score: 1) by KritonK on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:56PM

    by KritonK (465) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:56PM (#1856)

    "Winning" is the problem.

    When the modern Olympic games were originally established, they were all about participation [wikipedia.org]. These days, however, they are all about winning.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:59PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:59PM (#1858)

      Minor mistake, they're all about purchasing "rights" and running a profit by selling advertising.

      • (Score: 1) by Cactus on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:06PM

        by Cactus (32) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:06PM (#1867) Journal

        Oh, don't be like that. What's the point of international competition if someone can't pay retarded amounts of cash to be the official french fry of the winter games? /sarcasm

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by scruffybeard on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:11PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:11PM (#1871)

      I am not sure the participation element has ever gone away. I saw on TV earlier this week footage of the athletes from a skiing event signing each-others jerseys. Comradery and sportsmanship are still a major factor here. Plus, would you want to see an Olympic athlete just show up? Or do you want them to do their very best to win? I think we all would feel cheated if the guy in first place held back because he knew the others couldn't keep up. Doing your best at this level means trying to win.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by KritonK on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:14PM

        by KritonK (465) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:14PM (#1922)

        No, I wouldn't want to see an Olympic athlete just show up. However, I did get to admire an athlete, in a long distance race, quite a few years ago, who, even though she must have realized that she was way out of her competitors' league, she did not give up. She gave it her best, and barely made it to the finish line, staggering, long after the others had crossed it, collapsing after crossing the finish line herself. That is participation! Remember: participation is not just a matter of signing up in a list of participants. You have to qualify to compete with the best, so getting your name in that list is a major achievement in itself. Even if you finish last, nobody can take that away from you.

        These days we have "hares", who will sprint for a couple of rounds then quit, supposedly to make the others run faster and break the record, even though they all know that they needn't bother to match the hare's pace.

        If we need to argue whether Pierre de Coubertin's quote, that I mentioned earlier, is correct or not, then obviously we deserve what we get with the modern version of the Olympic games.

  • (Score: 1) by forsythe on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:49PM

    by forsythe (831) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:49PM (#1900)

    Can anything about being an 'athlete' be measured in that small an amount?

    Most comments here are about technical benefits to the athletes, but I might care a little more than I do about sports, personally, if the measurement standards were regressed into the past a little bit. I really wouldn't mind losing the high-speed cameras, instant replay, that sort of thing. If the referee really can't call who gets over the line first, just say "Too close to call". If that results in consistent sixteen-way ties for first place, then there's something else very, very wrong going on that instant replay cameras won't fix.